AirNZ to trial Travel Pass smartphone app on Sydney-Auckland flights

Qantas is also said to be looking at the Travel Pass app in readiness for when international flights resume.

By David Flynn, February 22 2021
AirNZ to trial Travel Pass smartphone app on Sydney-Auckland flights

Air New Zealand will use flights between Auckland and Sydney to trial a smartphone app which will verify that passengers have been vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19.

The Kiwi carrier will join a growing roster of airlines adopting the Travel Pass app developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a 'health passport', alongside Singapore Airlines, British Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad.

Qantas is also believed to be looking at Travel Pass along with other similar apps which function as a "health wallet". As previously reported, the airline has suggested that vaccination will be compulsory for most travellers, citing widespread support by 87% of flyers surveyed.

The AirNZ trial will run for three weeks across April, with the app free to download for Apple and Android devices. Air crew as well as passengers "will be invited to join the trial", indicating that it won't be mandatory.

How AirNZ's Travel Pass app will work

Passengers will be able to create a digital health wallet linked to their e-passport. Once they have been tested and/or vaccinated, labs will securely send that data straight to the app, without being stored on a central database.

IATA maintains its app "has been developed with the highest levels of data privacy and security, so passengers always remain in control of their COVID-19 health information."

The app then checks the destination's requirements for travel against the data, and passengers who meet those travel requirements will be given the green tick to travel.

IATA's Travel Pass app aims to become a global standard among airlines.
IATA's Travel Pass app aims to become a global standard among airlines.

"Once borders reopen, travel is going to look very different, with customers' health data needing to be verified at check-in," says Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Jennifer Sepull, who describes the app as "essentially like having a digital health certificate that can be easily and securely shared with airlines."

"This will give customers peace of mind that they meet all travel requirements for the different countries around the world before they even get to the airport. By using the app, customers can have confidence that everyone onboard meets the same government health requirements they do."

The airline is also in discussions with government agencies on the options for validation of COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

New Zealand, which has been in the global forefront of successfully dealing with COVID, began its nationwide vaccination program on the weekend but expects it will take a full year to inoculate the country's population of five million, compared to an October 2021 target set for Australia's 25 million citizens.

Also read: Australian PM flags 'vaccine passport' for international travel

This article is published under license from Bloomberg Media: the original article can be viewed here


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


19 Oct 2019

Total posts 5

Great idea 

I certainly want to be sitting next to someone who has been vaccinated 

on a 24 hour flight to London


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1423

I have a Medicare app on my phone with my vaccination history, will they be linked in anyway or yet another duplication whereby doctors and pharmacists have to upload to different systems.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

15 Jan 2013

Total posts 469

all well and good for those of us who have a phone with apps but those phones cost silly money.

04 May 2015

Total posts 267

You can buy an Android phone from Australia Post for $99, that can run apps: hardly "silly money".

(The latest iPhones at $2500+, however, are more in that category.)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 May 2018

Total posts 22

The  latest iPhone  starts at $1400


16 May 2016

Total posts 64

Many of these apps being developed globally, but still require some sort of uniform framework for how government's (border control) will actually access the data. 

What happens if your phone battery is dead at check-in/arrival?? Will travelers be holding their phones up to the immigration window?? Process when travelling with young children....? List goes on

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 342

In the UK, the government has said it WON’T be issuing a vaccination passport or any sort of confirmation of vaccination except a letter from your GP confirming you have been vaccinated!! 

How will that work with this app? I’ve already had my first jab of the Pfizer vaccine and besides a VERY sore arm for four days (I could literally not lift my arm above my shoulder for four days it was that painful), I’ve had no side effects.

I’m keen to get travelling again and visit my family in Singapore and the UAE, and was hoping that the vaccination would open that up. Now I’m not that sure!! A GP letter can be knocked up on any old desktop, so how is that gonna hold up as proof? 

Typical Bumbling Boris and his nitwit cohorts of Tory idiots to mess up the finer points of an otherwise brilliant vaccination program (BECAUSE it was run by the NHS and NOT farmed out to some well connected Tory lard arse donor, like the £22 BILLION disaster that is our Track and Trace system). Ok, political rant over. 

I JUST wanna get on a flight and turn left on boarding a flight again!! Is that too much to ask? 

07 May 2020

Total posts 151

It's all going to be too complicated and cost too much money for most governments who have already borrowed too much money. I think that once most of those vulnerable people have been vaccinated and fewer ending up in hospital, many governments will relax things and the vaccine travel pass will become extinct. After all, governments have done their best and assuming that hospitalizations diminish in number, then you have to say that they have achieved what they want. And life will go on, but at different paces for different countries. I think the northern hemisphere will be back to almost normal by mid european summer. Capitalism will call the day.  

07 May 2020

Total posts 151

Australia is a whole different story. Even when most vulnerable people are vaccinated, I am not sure that any of the state premiers have any appetite for risk. But somebody will have to eventually get the courage to challenge their state residents and open up their international borders to international travellers. Being vaccinated makes no difference because the vaccine does not prevent infection and transmission. That is an undisputed fact. I am sure that there is not a single premier wanting to be at the beginning of that queue to allow in any potentially infected travellers. So Australia will most probably be one of the last countries to open up for international arrivals and I am sure that won't happen until some time into 2022.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1423

GoRobin you may be right with not opening up until 2022. The vaccine reduces the severity of the disease (keeps people out of hospitals) and that is becoming an undisputed fact and it also reduces (but not eliminates) transmission. All in all it makes the bug more manageable and hopefully the same as any other cold. We won’t know this for sure until whole populations are mostly vaccinated which will be in the next six months or so. My guess for borders being opened is the second half of the year or I could be bolder and say the third quarter of this year.

Comments on this article are now closed